WATCH: US shoots down suspected Chinese spy balloon

The United States shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon as it floated off the country's southeastern coast on Saturday, a Reuters witness and US officials said, drawing to a close a dramatic spying saga that drew a spotlight on worsening Sino-US relations

President Joe Biden approved a military plan to shoot down the suspected Chinese spy balloon, US officials said, as the government ordered a halt to flights around the South Carolina coast due to what it called an undisclosed "national security effort

" VIDEO of US Shoot Down of #China Balloon moments ago over coast of North Carolina, ending > 2 days saga: pic


com/pGBi713XAL — Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) February 4, 2023 The Pentagon did not immediately comment

 Washington has called the balloon a "clear violation" of US sovereignty

Earlier on Saturday, Biden said the United States was "going to take care of" the suspected Chinese spy balloon, but did not elaborate

Asked if the balloon was going to be shot down, Biden gave a thumbs up to reporters

A Reuters photographer said the suspected Chinese spy balloon was shot down over the southeastern US coast

A stream came from a jet, hit the balloon but there was no explosion, the photographer said

It then began to fall, the photographer said

Military leaders earlier this week had recommended against shooting down the balloon when it was over Montana due to the risk of falling debris, officials said

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) paused departures and arrivals at three airports on Saturday, including Myrtle Beach International Airport on the South Carolina coast because of a "national security effort

" The FAA issued a temporary flight restriction to clear airspace around the South Carolina coast

The notice blocked flights to more than 100 square miles (260 square kilometers) — mostly over the Atlantic Ocean, according to a document posted by the FAA

The notice warned the military could use deadly force if airplanes violate the restrictions and do not comply with orders to leave

A Reuters photographer in the Myrtle Beach area could see the suspected spy balloon overhead, with two US military jets flying alongside it

China expressed regret that an "airship" used for civilian meteorological and other scientific purposes had strayed into US airspace

China's foreign ministry said on Saturday that the flight of the "airship" over the United States was a force majeure accident, and accused US politicians and media of taking advantage of the situation to discredit Beijing

The suspected Chinese spy balloon prompted US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to postpone a visit to China this week that had been expected to start on Friday

The postponement of Blinken's trip, which had been agreed to in November by Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, is a blow to those who saw it as an overdue opportunity to stabilise an increasingly fractious relationship between the two countries

China is keen for a stable US relationship so it can focus on its economy, battered by the now-abandoned zero-Covid policy and neglected by foreign investors alarmed by what they see as a return of state intervention in the market

The Pentagon said on Friday that another Chinese balloon was observed over Latin America, without saying where exactly

Date:06-Feb-2023 Reference:View Original Link